Every business needs to know who its customers are and how they found out about them. Builders are no exception. However, I so often hear how difficult it is to gather registration information.
One of the essential items I track for my builders each week is total traffic versus registrations. Traffic is a buying party who crosses the threshold or is physically seen by the salesperson. Each buying party could have an unlimited number of people with them, but if they only represent the purchase of one home, then they count as one traffic unit. Phone and web registrations are tracked but are labeled as traffic once the first meeting occurs. One way to look at it is that the goal of the sales professional is to get an appointment with the phone or web lead, once that lead shows up for that appointment, then they are counted as traffic.
I believe we can all agree that it is the job of the sales professional to help everyone who comes out to your sales center, but how the salesperson goes about helping them determines how successful the interaction will be. Let’s look at a couple of scenarios so that you may judge for yourself, which seems likely to create a better outcome?
Salesperson: “Hi, welcome to Bodacious Builders. My name is Sally Sales. Would you please fill out this guest registration card because my manager says that I have to get one filled out for every person who comes in our sales center.”
Salesperson: “Hi, welcome to Comfortable Construction. My name is Alan Agent. What brings you out today?… What kind of home are you looking for?… How many square feet? How many bedrooms/baths?…Great! I have a bunch of homes nearly completed and under construction, let’s go look at them to see if we have anything that you like. Before we go, would you please fill out this registration form for me. (Hands the prospect a pen and clipboard to fill out).
Salesperson: “Hi, welcome to Best Builders. Thanks for coming out today. I just made a fresh pot of coffee, why don’t you join me in the kitchen for a cup? (Once in the kitchen, after beverages are served.) Oh, I am sorry, where are my manners, I didn’t even introduce myself. I am Patty Pro, and you are?… It is nice to meet you, Mr. & Mrs. Prospect… Would you mind if I pull out my clipboard here and take a few notes while we are talking?… Now, how do you spell your first names?… Tell me, are you folks from the area?…No, oh ok. Where do you call home?…Oh, I see. Are you from there originally? (plus a lot more rapport-building questions and conversation before moving on to discover questions about the type of home they are looking for currently.)
If you said, that Scenario #3 would make far more sense, you are right! Let’s look at why though.
In Scenario #1, Sally Sales started by asking the guest to fill out the registration form before getting to know them or anything about their wants or needs. We should make our guests feel at home by spending the time to get to know them before we ask them for anything, especially something as personal as the information requested on the registration form. Invite your guests into the kitchen, offer them something to eat or drink, break the ice. Perhaps even sit down at the table with them to discover what is going on in their world to cause them to be in the market for a new home. This is their “WHY.” Once you have established rapport, then you can move on to discover “WHAT” it is they would like in their new home. By this point, you should be able to fill out most of the form yourself. As you are wrapping up, go back to get specifics like a street address, e-mail, and phone numbers.
Asking for the specifics might go something like this: “Mr. & Mrs. Prospect, I have really enjoyed meeting you today and learning about your vision for your new home. I know we are out of time today to look at those homesites, and you had a question about whether or not we could do a sideload garage on home site 46 or 48. It will take me a day or two to get the survey back to find out for you, so let’s plan to get together on Thursday or Friday. Which is better for you? …Friday it is then. I have availability at 1 PM after my sales meeting or 4 PM? Oh great, 1 PM will give us plenty of time to walk the homesites and mark out where your home will sit. So, let’s see, what is your cell number for me to follow up with you? ________ Uh hu, great. And, the best email to send you the information you wanted is? _____ Fabulous, now I know we said you lived over on Central Avenue, but what is that street number? And, that zip is ________?”
Do you see how natural that is? When we make it about the prospect and not about what is most comfortable for us, the process seems so much more natural and less forced.
In Scenario #2, Alan Agent is doing what we call, product dumping and selling by process of elimination. He throws every floorplan available, and every Quick Move-in home out on the table to see if something sticks. Alan doesn’t try to get to know his prospects at all. He isn’t making the process comfortable for them but is simply hoping that if he shows them enough stuff, they will like something. Because he hasn’t taken the time to build rapport, the prospect is understandably hesitant to give up their contact information.
Here is a challenge for you. Try to spend at least 15 minutes with your guests before you allow the conversation to turn to product (homestyle, bedrooms, square feet, price, etc.) Can you make it that long? What will you learn about them?
In Scenario #3, Patty Pro treats her prospects as guests. She invites them in, offers them something to drink or eat. She takes the time to understand what it is that her guests are looking to accomplish. She takes notes on the registration form and uses its questions as prompts to make sure that she gets all essential information. Understandably Patty Pro gets far more completed registration than her other colleagues. Of course, occasionally Patty still has that person who doesn’t trust and won’t give up their information or who refuses to sit down with her, but Patty isn’t discouraged and helps them as much as they will let her help and writes down what she can.
Your registration card or online registration tool is one of the most valuable tools in your toolkit. Make sure it asks the essential information needed to provide the best service to your buyers. Here is the basic template that I use with my builders. Of course, for each builder, we tweak it for their particular situation. We also make sure that our CRM intake form and web site registration mirrors this information, so we not only know who our buyers are, but which campaigns we are running work the best, etc. Sales managers, it is your job to review the registration forms with your team members weekly and to ensure the inclusion of all information in your CRM.
If you would like some help fine-tuning your registration process or would like a sample registration form, please feel free to reach out to me. I am happy to assist.
Kimberly Mackey is the founder of New Homes Solutions Consulting, and has the reputation as someone with real-world SOLUTIONS in a competitive and rapidly changing sales environment–SOLUTIONS like “50 Sales per Year before Any Walk-in Traffic”. Her primary business is that of a Sales & Marketing Management Consultant. Companies call on Kimberly to set up the processes and systems within the company so that sales is the engine that drives the train rather than running it off the tracks. Because she has such a depth of experience in all disciplines within in the building industry beyond the sales and marketing world, she is highly sought after to help companies to create a Customer Experience Process from potential lead to customer and throughout the building process into the warranty period and beyond. In other words, by creating a smooth transition and communication processes, she helps builders to create “Raving Fans.”
She is a keynote speaker and published author of many Sales and Leadership articles with 20 years of experience as an executive in the residential home building and real estate industry. She has a proven track record working with Builders and Developers of all sizes –from the local/regional companies to the publicly traded nationals. She also works with Brokers from across the country and is the architect and director of the highly successful Preferred Builder Partnership with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group where she works with 32 builders, 22 offices and over 650 agents.
For more information, or to book Kimberly for your next event, visit www.NewHomesSolutions.com. While you are there, please be sure to subscribe to SOLUTIONS e-newsletter which comes out twice a month with free training and best practice sharing from across our industry. You are also invited to connect with Kimberly on LinkedIn,www.linkedin.com/in/kimberlymackey; Twitter,www.twitter.com/KimberlyDMackey; and Facebook,www.facebook.com/NewHomesSolutions or on YouTube, www.youtube.com/c/NewHomesSolutions